You also need to file certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations. The forms you need are determined by your business structure. You will need to check your state’s website for information on state-specific and local tax obligations.
“You might be tempted to wing it with a PayPal account and social media platform, but if you start with a proper foundation, your business will have fewer hiccups to worry about in the long run,” said Natalie Pierre-Louis, licensed attorney and owner of NPL Consulting.
Federal, state, and local licenses and permits
Some businesses may also require federal, state or local licenses and permits to operate. The best place to obtain a business license is at your local city hall. You can then use the SBA’s database to search for licensing requirements by state and business type.
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Businesses and independent contractors in certain trades are required to carry professional licenses. One example of a professional business license is a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Individuals with a CDL are allowed to operate certain types of vehicles, such as buses, tank trucks and tractor-trailers. A CDL is divided into three classes: Class A, Class B and Class C.
You should also check with your city and state to find out if you need a seller’s permit that authorizes your business to collect sales tax from your customers. A seller’s permit goes by numerous names, including resale permit, resell permit, permit license, reseller permit, resale ID, state tax ID number, reseller number, reseller license permit or certificate of authority.
It’s important to note that these requirements and names vary from state to state. You can register for a seller’s permit through the state government website of the state(s) you’re doing business in.
Jordan says that not all businesses need to collect sales tax (or obtain a seller’s permit).
“For example, New York sales tax generally is not required for the sale of most services (such as professional services, education, and capital improvements to real estate), medicine or food for home consumption,” Jordan said. “So, for example, if your business only sells medicine, you do not need a New York seller’s permit. But New York sales tax must be collected in conjunction with the sale of new tangible personal goods, utilities, telephone service, hotel stays, and food and beverages (in restaurants).”